BURKINA FASO: Six killed and thousands affected by heavy rains

Monday, September 1, 2008

Heavy rains and violent winds in Burkina Faso have killed six people, wounded 18, and left 4,200 homeless according to the government’s National Council for Emergency Aid (CONASUR).

Seven of the country’s 13 regions have been affected by the rains according to Amade Belem, the permanent secretary of CONASUR, and overall 500 houses have been destroyed.

The highest homeless toll is in Batié in the southwest where 1,188 people are displaced and are currently sheltering in schools or government offices, or with neighbours and relatives.

Despite the damage, the situation is not as bad as last year when by the end of August at least 23,000 people had been affected by floods across the country. This rose to 146,000 by the end of the flood season, with 83 people killed.

“Compared to last year… the situation is much less alarming,” Belem told IRIN. “So far we have been able to meet the needs of the affected but we cannot tell if we have enough, because it will depend on the scope of the situation.”

Some of those displaced by the 2007 floods are still vulnerable because their houses were never rebuilt, according to Belem.

Romain Guigma, emergency aid response officer at the Burkina Faso Red Cross confirmed the situation was more manageable this year. “This morning I called all the provinces but right now, the situation is calm,” he told IRIN.